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Thomas Wines

A Hunter Valley Superstar

Born and bred in McLaren Vale, Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas reckoned he had it all figured out. He would graduate from Roseworthy and pursue a career in South Australia, following in the footsteps of his father, Wayne Thomas. And then fate stepped in. Between semesters, Thomas took on a vintage at Tyrrells. Here he met and worked under larger-than-life Murray Tyrrell and his experience in the Hunter would imprint on Thomas for life. 

Thomas’ stage impressed the Tyrrell family enough for him to be offered a number-one draft pick straight out of college: assistant winemaker at Tyrrells. Despite reservations about leaving his base, Thomas knew he could not look this gift horse in the mouth and besides, McLaren Vale wasn’t going anywhere. He would return home as a more knowledgeable and experienced winemaker. That was 35 years ago. 

Thomas couldn’t have asked for a better start to his career. The 13 years he spent at Tyrrell’s instilled a passion for place that remains to this day; the Hunter’s unique setting, its enigmatic signature white, Semillon, and the close-knit camaraderie between all who live and work there. Thomas had found his tribe. “The place just got under my skin,” he admits.

A decade into his tenure with the Tyrrells, Thomas felt that niggling desire to make wines of his own, and despite a few choice words from Murray Tyrrell on the subject, the family rubber-stamped his ambitions—providing it didn’t impact on his day job. In 1997, Thomas released his first wine.

“Hunter Valley semillon is one of Australia’s few unique wines, and Thomas’ Braemore is, simply, one of the best.” Huon Hooke, The Real Review

Thomas left Tyrrells in 1999 to set up shop on Pokolbin’s Mistletoe Lane. Rather than looking to please every taste, Thomas chose to nail his colours to the Hunter’s two signature grape varieties, Semillon and Shiraz. He started with just two wines (a red and a white) but soon began to explore and champion the stylistic diversity that exists within his region. Today, the range can run to as many as eight or nine Semillons and nine or ten Shiraz bottlings in a single vintage, encompassing each of the Valley’s sub-regions: Pokolbin, Lovedale, Belford, Broke/Fordwich and Mount View.

Thomas’ portfolio is a many-splendored thing, yet there is one vineyard that has become synonymous with this gifted producer: Braemore. Located in the heart of Hunter Semillon’s dress circle on the free-draining sandy flats of Pokolbin, Braemore is something of consecrated ground for fans of the variety and region. Having worked with Braemore fruit from his very first vintage (and every year since), when the opportunity to purchase the vineyard arose in 2017, Thomas jumped at the chance. And while today the vineyard contributes to several Thomas Wines blends, it is the two wonderful single-vineyard wines—the Braemore Semillon and Cellar Reserve Semillon (released at six years old)—that shine the brightest. 

Now in its 25th year—and with his eldest son Dan blooded into the business—Thomas Wines’ Semillon bottlings have become the embodiment of the lithe, pure, star-bright style that made the region so famous. They are digestible wines, screaming out for a plate of “anything you think about putting a squeeze of lemon over”, offers Thomas (although we wonder if this phrase originated from Andrew’s partner, the talented Sommelier, Kim Bickley). Light in alcohol but in no way austere or lacking texture or personality, these are unique and delicious wines.

What is perhaps less well known, outside of NSW at least, is the quality of this producer’s Shiraz. Indeed, Thomas’ mastery of both styles has seen him voted by his peers as Hunter Valley Winemaker of the year in 2008, 2014 and again in 2023. 

Currently Available

Thomas Wines Synergy Semillon 2023

Thomas Wines Synergy Semillon 2023

The Synergy Semillon is a blend of quality, old-vine Semillon sourced from throughout the Hunter Valley. For the Thomas Wines single-vineyard Semillons, the best parcels of fruit are chosen, with the balance from these great sites going into the Synergy blend. This means, in any given year, this great-value wine is crafted from seriously good raw material. The 2023 is a blend of Braemore (about 70%), with the balance from the Brycefield (in Lovedale), Fordwich Hill and OC vineyards. The fruit fermented in stainless steel. True to Thomas form, it’s another pure, precise Semillon with punchy flavours, live-wire acidity and racy energy. The price is difficult to comprehend in today’s market, but we’re not complaining!

“Citrus, cut grass and melon provide a complex web of aromas and flavours, plus the usual lance of acidity.”
91 points, James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion
“The 2023 Synergy Semillon is tight and pithy on the nose, leading with scratched lemon and bath salt, a hint of leafy thyme/sage (actually, it's really quite like the smell of fresh sage in the garden right after it's been watered) and nashi pear skin in the mouth. The phenolics have a pleasing, bitter almond/green almond quality through to the finish. It's a lovely wine, coiled, pristine, austere...”
94 points, Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate
Thomas Wines Synergy Semillon 2023
Thomas Wines Synergy Semillon 2022

Thomas Wines Synergy Semillon 2022

The Synergy Semillon is a blend of quality, old-vine Semillon sourced throughout the Hunter Valley. For the Thomas Wines single vineyard Semillons, the very best parcels of fruit are chosen, with the balance from these great sites going into the Synergy blend. This means, in any given year, this great value is crafted of some very high quality raw material. The ‘22 is a blend of Braemore (about 75%), with the balance from the Brycefield and Fordwich Hill vineyards. The fruit was all fermented in stainless steel. 

It’s laden with clean, pure and precise citrus fruits underpinned by touches of grass and fresh hay. Punchy flavours of fresh citrus with a touch of green papaya are driven by racy acidity and a vibrant, clear-cut close. The price is hard to understand in today’s market, but we’re not complaining!

“Pale lemon-yellow hue. Nose shows nettles and lemon zest aromas. Taut and tense on the tongue with lemon zest and lime curd driving with intensity through the middle. There's a saline note to the acidity early but it softens into the medium finish. A drink-now style of Hunter semillon, but it will undoubtedly reward cellaring as well.”
89 points, Stuart Knox, The Real Review
Thomas Wines Synergy Semillon 2022
Thomas Wines Sweetwater Shiraz 2021

Thomas Wines Sweetwater Shiraz 2021

We’re not far off from offering this Hunter icon’s new suite of Semillon and top Hunter Shiraz bottlings. Yet Andrew Thomas’ portfolio of wines is a many-splendoured thing and includes some great choices at the value end of the spectrum. If you are new to this producer’s reds, they are pitched in the ‘Hunter Burgundy’ style, that is, perfumed, supple and balanced—medium instead of full. This highly praised vineyard is located at Sweetwater Ridge in the northern Belford sub-region of the Lower Hunter Valley. The vines were planted in 1998 on soils of red/brown loam over limestone, giving a distinctive floral lift to its wines. The grapes were destemmed but not crushed, and whole berry fermentation kicked off after a two-day cold soak. After ten days on skins, the wine was pressed off to a selection of new, one, two and three-year-old French hogsheads for 15 months of maturation. Only then are the best barrels selected for blending and bottling, and the wines marry for a further 11 months in a bottle before release. This is a silky and seductive Shiraz, flush with dark, brooding fruits, pepper spice, wet steel and a touch of anise. It’s juicy and mouthcoating with lovely spiced plum sweetness, a velvety mid-palate and a supple, layered and lengthy close. It’s a classy follow-up to 2020 and offers terrific value.

This is a silky and seductive Shiraz, flush with dark, brooding fruits, pepper spice, wet steel and a touch of anise. It’s juicy and mouthcoating with lovely spiced plum sweetness, a velvety mid-palate and a supple, layered and lengthy close. It’s a classy follow-up to 2020 and offers terrific value.

“Cigarbox and spice, fresh leather and black and red plums seduce the nose. The palate is framed by a chewy funnel of tannins with a bitter chocolate flavour to counter the core of fruit. This is a very enjoyable shiraz with composure and enough complexity to keep drawing you back.”
91 points, Gabrielle Poy, The Real Review
“Mostly dark fruit with pepper and dark chocolate. Just a hint of vanilla, sage, peppermint and a sweet note of a ripe raspberry. There’s something simple and pure about this wine, it just hits the spot. It’s energetic with bright acidity and a distinctly bitter finish. Bitter like fruit skin and ground coffee. The good bitter. There’s a fair bit of drying powdery tannin, too. Even though it could use a bit more time in bottle, it’s cohesive and entirely pleasant now.”
93 points, Kasia Sobiesiak, The Wine Front
“Any red wine of the 2021 vintage is by definition better than any offering from ’20, it with no more than a handful of Hunter Valley shiraz wines that dared to make the point. This is a wine with a 20-plus year future, firm, earthy black fruits not requiring a 'thank god' finish.”
94 points, James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2024
Thomas Wines Sweetwater Shiraz 2021
Thomas Wines Braemore Semillon 2023

Thomas Wines Braemore Semillon 2023

The Braemore Vineyard, planted in 1969, is widely considered one of the best vineyards in the Valley. It is in the Hunter Semillon dress circle on the sandy alluvial flats of Hermitage Road, Pokolbin. Thomas is one of about twelve producers, including Tyrrell’s, on this narrow, two-kilometre strip of ‘Grand Cru’ Semillon soil. Once an ancient sea floor, the deep, sandy loam soils are free-draining, allowing deep root penetration, which is perfect for the variety. It’s universally accepted that the site produces some of the finest examples of classic Hunter Valley Semillon. It is particularly famed for producing wines of remarkable longevity. Andrew states, “The thing that sets Braemore apart, what gives it its longevity, is that extra level of intensity and concentration that comes from Semillon grown on this kind of soil.” The various blocks within the Braemore vineyard were hand-picked in mid-February. Each batch was meticulously hand-sorted to ensure only the very best fruit went through for whole-bunch pressing (to minimise phenolic extraction). After fermentation, the wine spent five weeks on lees before bottling.Vivid and star bright in the glass, the 2023 shimmers with citrus fruits, minerals and white flowers, underscored by a note of preserved lemon. It’s a delightful nerve ball of a wine, crackling with energy and layered with complexity before finishing with intensity and great length. It’s going to be a stunner, but there is already so much to enjoy right now.

Vivid and star bright in the glass, the 2023 shimmers with citrus fruits, minerals and white flowers, underscored by a note of preserved lemon. It’s a delightful nerve ball of a wine, crackling with energy and layered with complexity before finishing with intensity and great length. It’s going to be a stunner, but there is already so much to enjoy right now.

“Braemore is a distinctive vineyard, and this is a distinctive wine. For a semillon, this is uncharacteristically fruity, with feijoa and passionfruit notes wrapped around a Tahitian lime core. The fullness of the palate is captivating, as is the intensity of the flavour. A joyous wine with great character and appeal.”
96 points, Toni Paterson, The Wine Companion
“Herbal lemon tea, a hint of wax, underripe melon skin, fresh chamomile, satin cool and lacy texture. There’s something minty underneath and it carries that little tightly packed flavour package that no doubt will develop into something even more beautiful in future but what a refreshing and layered drink it is in its youth.”
94+ points, Kasia Sobiesiak, The Wine Front
Thomas Wines Braemore Semillon 2023
Thomas Wines Two Of A Kind Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Thomas Wines Two Of A Kind Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2023

Thomas Wines Two of a Kind bottlings are a tribute to the multi-regional blends that created some of Australia’s most famous wines in the ’50s and ’60s. The Hunter Valley Semillon portion of the blend (60%) is from an early picked block in the Braemore vineyard, while the Sauvignon Blanc (40%) was sourced from the Adelaide Hills (from the Saint & Scholar/Kaesler Co. sites), pressed at Kaesler Wines and then transported cold to the Hunter Valley. The two components were blended as soon as possible and left on lees to build textural complexity. The wine was bottled early to preserve as much freshness as possible.

Thomas Wines Two Of A Kind Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2023
Thomas Wines Elevage Semillon 2022 (500ml)

Thomas Wines Elevage Semillon 2022 (500ml)

This is just the second release of Thomas’ dessert-style Hunter Valley Semillon. The fruit source for this wine was the mid-pressings from all the Semillon fruit of 2022, the fraction that gives phenolic balance to the wine’s richness. The juice underwent a relatively long, cool fermentation and Thomas stopped the fermentation at around 11%, leaving approximately 120-130g/L residual sugar in the wine. It was raised entirely in stainless steel. This is both an opulent and pristine style of sticky, with elegant orange blossom and citrus juice dovetailing with some delicious elderflower and honey notes. The finish is long and luscious, with elevated citrus-like acidity providing the balance. Just the ticket for a light dessert or some cheese. Bring on the blue!

This is both an opulent and pristine style of sticky, with elegant orange blossom and citrus juice dovetailing with some delicious elderflower and honey notes. The finish is long and luscious, with elevated citrus-like acidity providing the balance. Just the ticket for a light dessert or some cheese. Bring on the blue!

Thomas Wines Elevage Semillon 2022 (500ml)
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Halliday Wine Companion Top 100 Wineries 2023

#91: Thomas Wines

“Winemaker Andrew Thomas is an emerging superstar of the Hunter, producing peerless Semillon and classy Shiraz.” Peter Forrestal, Qantas Magazine

“Hunter Valley semillon is one of Australia’s few unique wines, and Thomas’ Braemore is, simply, one of the best.” Huon Hooke, The Real Review

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “The quality of the wines and reputation of Andrew Thomas have never been higher.” James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion



“After 22 consecutive vintages, the impeccably crafted Thomas Braemore Semillon is one of the iconic wines of the Hunter Valley. Although delicious in its youth, age reveals the true magic of the Braemore site. It is one of Australia’s best value ‘fine wines’ and an absolute bargain in the broader wine world.” Toni Patterson MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine

Country

Australia

Primary Region

Hunter Valley, New South Wales

People

Winemaker: Andrew Thomas

Availability

National

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